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Severance Agreements –  What’s in it for you?

It’s hard to think about losing your job, but if it happens, you can negotiate a severance agreement with your employer. Most companies will offer you a severance agreement that can soften the loss of a job. There are a few items to know about these severance agreements. 

Review Carefully

This is the time to read the document carefully. Most employees will sign these agreements without negotiating or reading the document thoroughly. You can review and negotiate these agreements. Set aside the emotion of losing a job. It may make sense for you to review the documents with an employment professional before signing. 

Non – Compete Agreements

These can hinder your ability to get your next position. Some companies are more aggressive with these and can have specifics on the type of industry, profession, and geographic area. We have noticed that these have a broad time frame range of less than a year to several years. 


Review the timeframe that the employer will pay for any health benefits that you had while employed. This can include the cost-sharing option or paying for your cost of the benefits. There should be a clause about COBRA continuation coverage and life insurance options if you elected these. 

Severance Payments

This can depend upon the position held, timeframe, and solvency of the organization. Review this to see if this can be a lump sum payment and when it would be paid after signing the agreement or if it will be a paycheck continuation for an extended period. Some companies will have a stay bonus payment if they need you to transfer over work or help to dissolve the position, department, division, company, etc. 

Outplacement Assistance

Is the company offering assistance in helping you find a new job? If so, what type of support level?  This can include comprehensive support from coaching, resume creation, LinkedIn profile assistance, interview preparation, cover letters, and identifying positions that meet your qualifications. This is another area that should be defined in the agreement. 

Opportunity to Negotiate

This is a perfect opportunity to negotiate the agreement. Companies do not like to lay off employees, especially the ones that have long tenure and are loyal. Be specific and reasonable with what you would like to make the transition more amenable. This can include a shortened or removal of a non-compete agreement, payment for benefits, higher severance payments, additional outplacement assistance, or other items. 

We can help you with getting back on your feet. We offer Outplacement Assistance to assist your employer with the transition. If they are unable to help you, we can definitely work with you to kick start your search for a new job with our Resume Writing Packages or Kickstarter Plans. We can be your partner in your search! 

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